Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

NYC Live Music Calendar Jan/Feb 2008

If you don’t recognize a club listed here, click on Venues, to your right, under Categories, and scroll down. Check back for frequent updates, as we update this pretty much every day: since a lot of venues and bands don’t announce concerts until only a few days beforehand, we’re always playing catchup. Apologies if fonts and/or spacing are a little bizarre: it’s the gremlins, not us.First, the good things that happen every week

 

 

Every Sunday the Ear-Regulars, led by trumpeter Jon Kellso and guitarist Matt Munisteri play NYC’s only weekly hot jazz session starting around 8 PM at the Ear Inn on Spring St.  Hard to believe, in the city that springboarded the careers of thousands of jazz legends, but true. This is by far the best value in town for marquee-caliber jazz: for the price of a drink and a tip for the band, you can see world-famous players (and brilliant obscure ones) you’d usually have to drop $100 for at some big-ticket room. The material is mostly old-time stuff from the 30s and 40s, but the players (especially Kellso and Munisteri, who have a chemistry that goes back several years) push it into some deliciously unexpected places. Munisteri is also playing an 8 PM residency every Monday through the end of January at Banjo Jim’s, where you can get to hear his brilliantly literate, lyrical original songs.

 

 

Also Sundays in January, Matty Charles plays his soulful, understated country originals at Pete’s, 8:30 PM

 

 

Also every Sunday excellent country twangsters Sean Kershaw & the New Jack Ramblers play Hank’s in Brooklyn around 9:30ish, frequently with special guests or a guest band after the previous event, the weekly rock jam, is over. No cover, with free barbecue and sausage. Definitely your best bet if your stomach is empty and you like this sort of thing

 

 

Also on Sundays, there are free, 5:15 PM organ recitals at St. Thomas Church. This is a prestige venue for touring organists from around the world, the sonics are spectacularly good and so is the old Skinner organ

 

 

Mondays in January (and pretty much every month, when he’s not on tour), Rev. Vince Anderson and his band play Black Betty in Williamsburg, two sets starting around 10:30 PM. The Rev. is one of the great keyboardists around, equally thrilling on organ or electric piano, an expert at Billy Preston style funk, honkytonk, gospel and blues. He writes very funny, very politically astute, frequently salacious original gospel songs and is one of the great live performers of our time. Moist Paula from Moisturizer is the lead soloist on baritone sax

 

 

Also Mondays the Barbes house band, Chicha Libre plays there starting around 10. They’ve singlehandedly resurrected an amazing subgenre, chicha, which was popular in the Peruvian Amazon in the late 60s and early 70s. With electric accordion, cuatro, surf guitar and a boisterous rhythm section, their mix of obscure classics and originals is one of the funnest, most danceable things you’ll witness this year. Perhaps not so strangely, they sound a lot like Finnish surf rockers Laika and the Cosmonauts in their most imaginative moments.  

Tues Jan 15 The Old Rugged Sauce plays Lakeside, 10 PM. This terrific bunch of old-school Williamsburg types (i.e. pre-luxury condo people) play rousing, very smart, imaginatively arranged covers of classic vocal jazz songs. This is the kind of show where you could drag someone you know who hates jazz and at the end of the night, that person would be singing along. They’re also playing here on Feb 12 at 10,

 

 

Jan 16 and every Weds through the end of the month, guitarist Will Scott and drummer Wylie Wirth play authentic acoustic Mississippi hill country blues at 68 Jay St. Bar, walk all the way down Jay until you come to the end of the building: it’s on the north side, facing what would be the water if there wasn’t a building in front of it. Imagine T-Model Ford with a better, i.e. less sludgy guitar sound and you’re on the right track,

Thurs Jan 17, 9 PM the best triple bill of this new year featuring sultry Roulette Sisters frontwoman/National steel guitarist Mamie Minch, superb oldtimey country singer Jan Bell & the Cheap Dates and Will Scott. It’s a cancer benefit  at Bait & Tackle, 320 Van Brunt (at Pioneer St) Red Hook, B61 bus to the end of the line.

 

 

Also Thurs Jan 17 subtle, smartly literate acoustic songwriter Vered Ronen plays Symphony Space, 9 PM, free. Understatedly good voice, good sense of metaphor and an uncommon terseness: she makes all her words and her hooks count for something.

Also Thurs Jan 17 hilarious country parody band the Inbreeds play Hank’s, 9 PM. As funny – and as politically aware – as Tammy Faye Starlite, which is high praise. They’re also playing Midway at 8 PM on Jan 24. 

 

 

 

Also Thurs Jan 17, there’s a tribute show in memory of fiery, well-loved string-slinger Drew Glackin at Rodeo Bar, 10 PM with innumerable ex-bandmates from the Jack Grace Band, the Silos, Tandy, Eric Ambel and others.

 

 

 

Also Thurs Jan 17 the Deciders – which is Boo Reiners and Elena Skye from twangmeisters Demolition String Band, plus Lenny Kaye from Patti Smith’s band play Banjo Jim’s, 11ish. Talk about a supergroup. Only in New York, kids.

Also Thurs Jan 17 if you can’t make it to Matt Munisteri’s umpteen other shows this month, he’s also at Barbes at 10 PM.

Fri Jan 18 and Sat Jan 19 the Burnt Sugar Arkestra plays the Kitchen, 8 PM, pricy, but where else can you see about 50 of the best musicians in town onstage playing sprawling, psychedelic, one-chord jams as Greg Tate conducts from behind his bass?  Well, you can see them at Zebulon on Feb 13 at 10 if you want.

 

 

 

Also Fri Jan 18, 8:30 PM at Desmond’s, charmingly jangly female-fronted quartet Swagg open the night, followed by the Sisters (whoever they are – they don’t exactly pop up if you google them) and then ferocious Ramones/Billy Childish influenced garage rockers 18 at around 10:30. Cocaine and Abel do their nails-down-the-blackboard noise-rock instrumentals afterward, belligerently and proficiently, if you really like that sort of thing.

 

 

 

Also Fri Jan 18 genius guitarist Oren Bloedow and sultry goth siren Jennifer Charles’ predictably dark, psychedelic band Elysian Fields does a stripped down duo or trio show – hard to tell from the website – at the Stone on Ave. C, 10 PM.

 

 

 

Also Fri Jan 18 the Mooney Suzuki headlines Luna, 11 PM. Are they third or fourth-generation garage rockers? Either way, they sound pretty much like the first wave, i.e. the MC5, don’t do anything that would differentiate them from anyone else, but they completely kick ass at what they do.

Also Fri Jan 18 fiery highway rockers the Sloe Guns play the Underscore (the former Hogs & Heifers on upper First Ave.), 10 PM. Their new material rocks harder than ever, frontman Eric Alter is playing a lot of lead guitar and they finally have the right drummer. One of the best live bands in town right now.

Also Fri Jan 18 another of the best live bands in town, brilliant politically-charged orchestrated rockers Melomane play Union Hall, 10ish. Lush textures with horns, strings, guitars and keyboards, and frontman Pierre de Gaillande’s ongoing “disaster song cycle” continues to scare and amaze.

Also Fri Jan 18 former Industrial Tepee frontman Tom Shaner plays Lakeside, 11 PM. Always worth seeing what this excellent, Americana-steeped songwriter (and southwestern gothic specialist) is up to.

Sat Jan 19 starting early (4 PM) it’s opening reception for the annual Williamsburg Salon Art Club Show, 135 Broadway (at Bedford) in South Williamsburg. As usual it’s a group show with a ton of people showing, but there’s always something worth checking out here.

Also Sat Jan 19 Jack Grace’s excellent bass-playing wife Daria picks up her ukelele and plays with her oldtimey band the Prewar Ponies at Barbes, 8 PM. Sultry jazz/pop chanteuse Sasha Dobson follows on the bill; Melomane spinoff The Snow (who sound pretty much the same as Melomane except with more harmonies and maybe a little more of a jazz feel) headline.

Also Sat Jan 19 the amusingly titled Pennsylvania band Drink Up Buttercup play around 10 PM at Cake Shop. Their myspace indicates that they mix a sort of faux cockney punk with ska, which is somewhat silly but they probably give 100% live.

Also Sat Jan 19 Ninth House plays Hank’s, 11 PM. The Nashville gothic quintet has never sounded better, with the keys and the violin taking center stage more and more, jamming out intros and outros, and ominous baritone frontman Mark Sinnis has never seemed as at ease or having so much fun as he clearly is with this latest incarnation of the band.  

Also Sun Jan 20 Gil Scott-Heron plays what used to be an annual thing for him, his MLK day celebration at SOB’s, two shows starting at 7 and 10 PM, $23 advance tix available at the box office. No idea of how much he has left since he got out of jail, or whether or not he’s on the pipe, but back in the day there was no more politically potent or charismatic performer than this guy, his Fender Rhodes piano and killer funk/jazz band.

Also Sun Jan 20, the website at Otto’s lists a “Richard Lloyd and the Sufi Monkey Trio.” We have no idea if this is the legendary Television guitarist, but if you’re in the neighborhood, it’s free.

Tues Jan 22 Great White plays Don Hill’s. We hope the fire exits are working and that the club has insurance. And that the NYFD knows about this.

Also Tues Jan 22 brilliant violinist Jenny Scheinman plays another early show at Barbes, 7 PM. Pegged as jazz but adept at classical, gypsy music and even country, she’s somebody you ought to see at some point. She’s also playing Jan 29 here at 7, followed by the boisterous, danceable Slavic Soul Party.

Also Tues Jan 22 a bill at Luna bookended by two interesting acts. Lauren Zettler, who opens the show around 7:30 is a singer-songwriter playing melodic jazz-inflected pop. Her lyrics aren’t much but her tunes are good. After a horrid female-fronted disco act and one of the sidemen from the headliner adding weight to the argument that some sidemen should stay sidemen, Olivia & the Housemates top the bill around 11. They play catchy, very smartly constructed janglepop and have horns on the recorded stuff. They sound like they would have great energy live.

Also Tues Jan 22 the Dirty Novels, New Mexico’s authentically jangly, powerful version of the 13th Floor Elevators play Lit, 10 PM.

Also Tues Jan 22 through Jan 27 the Brad Mehldau Trio plays the Vanguard. Yeah, the piano player is a compulsive weirdo and probably thinks way too much for his own good, but his Art of the Trio albums are the real deal. And this is where he made them. And he always has a great rhythm section behind him.

Weds Jan 23, 8 PM sharp LJ Murphy plays Trash Bar, solo acoustic. One of the great charismatic showmen of our time, a dazzling, powerful, funny, social aware lyricist and master of oldschool R&B-inflected hit songwriting, somebody who rocks just as hard and writes just as well as Elvis Costello did in his prime. And he’s something of a fashion icon in his immaculate black suit, porkpie hat and shades.

Also Weds Jan 23 soaring retro British pop revivalists the Bedsit Poets, featuring Amanda Thorpe and her Linda Thompson-esque vocals, play Banjo Jim’s at 8:30 PM followed by the equally authentique Marni Rice and Le Garage Cabaret, most likely doing her very compelling Edith Piaf thing.

Also Weds Jan 23, 10 PM, fiery, female-fronted art-rockers System Noise play R Bar, 10 PM. Scorching chromatic guitar, brutal crescendos, devilish time signatures and one of the most powerful frontwomen in rock. And a smart political sensibility and some surprisingly funky danceable stuff too. See them if you like noise and you’re not afraid to dance.

Thurs Jan 24 and Fri Jan 25 it’s the Other Half festival at Barbes starting around at 8 each night, featuring original compositions played by female composers in many genres. A laudable concept, along the lines of what Jessica Valiente’s been doing at the Nuyorican. Be adventurous, check it out.

Also Thurs Jan 24 what promises to be a killer triple bill at Banjo Jim’s with the brilliant, haunting, soaring Britfolk chanteuse Amanda Thorpe at 7, then the debut of new trio the Smalls featuring equally brilliant keyboardist/singer Greta Gertler along with Rob Jost and Jonathan Maron, then the debut performance of the prosaically named NA Folk Band, a Eastern European expat string quartet playing gypsy music. Let’s hope the PA is working ok.

Also Thurs Jan 24 Darrin James plays Luna around 9 with his band. Tom Waits is the glaringly obvious influence, but this guy is more than an imitator. He’s a good lyricist, likes his minor-key blues and has a terrific supporting cast behind him.

Also Thurs Jan 24 Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co. play the Lucky Cat in Williamsburg at 9. Genuine 1954-style retro immediately pre-rockabilly honkytonk trio with what can be very amusing contemporary lyrics, and great western swing inflected guitar.  They’re also playing their monthly gig at Otto’s on Jan 31 at 8:30 and then on Sat Feb 2 at Freddy’s.

Fri Jan 25 there’s what promises to be a beguiling photo opening, a group show with selections from Moment: Une Review de Photo starting at 6 PM at Safe-T Gallery, 111 Front St., gallery 214 in Dumbo. The reliably dark Galina Kurlat will no doubt have something pensive and somewhat inscrutable to contribute.

Fri Jan 25 it’s Erica Smith & the 99 Cent Dreams’ cd release show for their new one, Snowblind at the Parkside, 8 PM. Smith is New York’s answer to Neko Case or Eleni Mandell, a spellbinding singer and master of any Americana genre she touches. Lately she’s been going further in a jazz direction; the cd is a remarkably diverse, emotionally gripping mix of janglerock, pastoral psychedelia, samba, country and even a heavy metal song. The hilarious, completely inspiring Tom Warnick & World’s Fair headline with their somewhat twisted, literate keyboard-driven rock at 9. He’s one of the most charismatic showmen around, stick around if you’re going to this one.

Also Fri Jan 25 Soul Cycle plays Bam Café, 9 PM. All instrumental downtempo soul grooves with sax, flute, keys and rhythm section. Some would call this elevator jazz, others would say it’s funky. If you like the Crusaders or late 70s Steely Dan, check them out. They’re also playing at Frank’s Cocktail Lounge, 660 Fulton St (corner of Lafayette) on Feb 21.

Also Fri Jan 25 twangy, propulsive Bodeans soundalikes the Eric Stuart Band play the Ace of Clubs, 9 PM.

Also Fri Jan 25, Blue Oyster Cult plays Irving Plaza, 9 PM, advance tix available at the box office. They’ve all got to be close to 60 now but a recent DVD reveals that lead player Donald Roeser AKA Buck Dharma still has his spectacular guitar chops intact, the rest of the original members (the keyboardist/rhythm player and frontman) are still lucid and the young-gun rhythm section is as good as the originals.

Also Fri Jan 25 it’s Neil Young night w/ Walter Salas-Humara from the Silos, Steve Wynn & Eric “Roscoe” Ambel from Steve Earle’s band at Lakeside, show starts around 10:30 PM. Hopefully Roscoe’s wrist has recovered from the bike accident; the other guys on the bill share his fondness for electric Neil and ability to get similarly evil and dirty.

Also Fri Jan 25, 11 PM Pink Noise plays Zebulon. If you can get close enough to the stage, you’ll hear two eerie, reverb-laden chromatic guitars, one of them Steve Ulrich from Big Lazy, plus percussion. They sound pretty much like Big Lazy, in other words, incredible.

Also Fri Jan 25 the reliably amusing faux-French garage rockers Les Sans Culottes – now with the brilliant Gina Rodriguez from Moisturizer holding down the bass – play Otto’s, midnight.

Sat Jan 26 a terrific gypsy rock night at Luna starting around 8 with keyboard/bass stoner instrumental duo Tzar, followed by the mesmerizing J-San & the Analogue Sons, who play hypnotic live dub reggae instrumentals, then Guignol feat. members of World Inferno doing noir accordion klezmer instrumentals and then potently danceable female-fronted gypsy rockers Nanuchka to wind up the night. Guignol claim to be advocates of “red wine theft,” which definitely gets our seal of approval.

Also Sat Jan 26 for anyone with fond memories of Brownies, ten years ago, The Scene Is Now is still together and from all accounts as good as ever. They’re playing Cake Shop at 9.

Also Sat Jan 26 Erin Regan plays at 10 PM at Sidewalk. Her stage persona is icy and dismissive; her lyrics could cut through bulletproof glass. An understated master of the outsider anthem with a good sense of melody.

Also Sat Jan 26 clever, politically charged Americana duo Kill Henry Sugar play Barbes, 10 PM. Just guitar or lapsteel and drums, smart lyrics, witty stage banter and some understatedly good tunes. 

Also Sat Jan 26 legendary rockabilly/surf monsters Simon & the Bar Sinisters play Lakeside, 11 PM. Strange to see Simon taking a gig that doesn’t pay – maybe this a rehearsal for something more lucrative. Whatever the case, he’s been around forever, an 80s LES punk who discovered the Ventures and surfing and writes hilariously authentic retro 50s songs.  They’re also playing here on Feb 9 at 11.

Also Sat Jan 26 amazing, volcanically powerful garage/surf rockers the Brimstones play Otto’s, 11 PM. If volume and energy are your thing, don’t miss this show.

The afternoon Randi Russo show that we mentioned for Jan 27 in the most recent version of this calendar is not happening. Just wanted you to know. She’s playing Cake Shop with her band on March 7 at 9. Brilliant lyrical chanteuse Linda Draper opens the night around 7:30

Sun Jan 27 the incomparable Amy Allison plays Banjo Jim’s, probably playing two sets (or at least one long one) starting early at 7 PM. She was country and still plays the hits, but her new stuff is more rock-oriented, haunting and absolutely gorgeous. Just like her voice. And she’s just as hilarious a performer as always. Get there early so you can get a seat: this is a cozy place. She’s also playing here at 7 on Feb 10.    

Mon Jan 28 the Red Hook Ramblers, a loosely knit conglomeration of A-list oldtimey pickers plays Otto’s at 9 PM.

Starting Tues Jan 29 and continuing, smartly lyrical jazz guitarist Peter Bernstein leads a trio with killer organist Larry Goldings and percussionist Bill Stewart at the Vanguard. These guys have a history and a chemistry, and they’re all about the song and the melody. Highly recommended.

Also Tues Jan 29 legendary beat poet multi-instrumentalist/composer David Amram plays Goodbye Blue Mondays in Bushwick, 9ish, with his daughter Alana also on the bill. Amram is one of the hardest working musicians ever, to rival B.B. King, a goodwill ambassador from a better time and place. And for a better time and place. That he’d play this dump is proof of how cool he still is, past the age of 70.

Also Tues Jan 29 Johnny Allen plays Terra Blues on Bleecker, 10 PM. A genuine, bonafide soul/blues crooner with powerful, incisive guitar chops: when he hits the volume pedal and starts to solo, duck. He could hurt you. He does a killer cover of the Albert Collins classic I’m Not Drunk (I’m Just Drinking).    

Thurs Jan 31 former Gang Starr frontman Guru’s Jazzmatazz plays the Highline Ballroom, 9 PM, advance tix highly recommended. Dave Sanborn and Bob James are on the latest album, Vol. 4 which could be good or bad. Appropriate that they’d do this show at this upscale stoner venue.

Fri Feb 1 World Inferno plays their sprawling, very entertaining, gypsy-inflected ska-punk with probably all dozen of their singers, horn section, keys, etc. at Bowery Ballroom, 9 PM, adv tix available at the Mercury and absolutely necessary for this one.  

Also Fri Feb 1 long-running punk rockers the US Bombs headline Luna at 11 PM. Smart, tuneful, fond of minor keys, politically aware, i.e. everything that the Warped Tour bands were not.

Sat Feb 2 killer DC guitarist Bobby Radcliff plays an early show at Terra Blues, 7 PM. Not sure if this is acoustic or electric; either way, he plays a whole lot of notes but makes all of them count, similar to late-period Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Also Sat Feb 2, a killer surf show starting at 10 at Otto’s with the somewhat legendary New York purists the Supertones, followed by El Muchacho, the furious and macabre Coffin Daggers and the Sea Devils bringing things full circle with their collection of retro classics and brillliant obscurities.

Mon Feb 4 Sean Kershaw & the New Jack Ramblers venture out of their weekly Hank’s hideaway and play their bracingly tuneful, musically superb country and honkytonk at Otto’s, 10 PM.  

Fri Feb 8 and Sat Feb 9 the Cannabis Cup Band plays their annual Bob Marley birthday shows at B.B. Kings, not cheap ($20 advance tix), but authentic roots reggae is in short supply now and these guys really have a handle on it.

Sun Feb 10 at 3 PM, the Greenwich Village Orchestra plays the famous, dramatic Brahms violin concerto and then Shostakovich’s landmark Tenth Symphony – released right after Stalin’s death, and containing a somewhat gruesome musical epitaph for the tyrant –  along with other pieces at Washington Irving HS auditorium, 16th St. and Irving Place, your best deal in town for classical music, just a $15 contribution.

Tues Feb 12 wild, fiery cajun/honkytonkers the Doc Marshalls play Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM. They alternate between scorching accordion-driven zydeco stomps and twanging, swinging old-time, i.e. early 1960s country songs. If their myspace is any indication, they put on a hell of a show.

Fri Feb 15 Sharon Jones plays the Beacon, a great place to see this era’s greatest soul singer and her killer band, showtime is 8 PM, advance tix absolutely necessary ($25 but worth it) and available at the box office.

Also Fri Feb 15 long-running, completely authentic horn/organ/guitar-driven ska rockers the Slackers – whose International War Criminal ep was a mighty slap upside the head of the Bush regime – play Luna, 11 PM.

Sat Feb 16, 11 PM second-generation Boston garage revivalists the Lyres headline at Midway. No idea how lucid organist/frontman Jeff Connolly is at this point, but back in the day they were reliably one of the best live acts around.

Thurs Feb 21 pounding noise-rock instrumentalists the Big Sleep, the missing link between My Bloody Valentine and, say, Slowdive, headline the Mercury, 11 PM. They bring at least ten grand worth of equipment to every show and get every last spark out of it.

Fri Feb 22 Laura Cantrell plays Union Hall, 9 PM, get there early because the little downstairs room will sell out. She hasn’t played out a lot lately since she’s been busy with the kid. Most likely she’ll do a mix of her incredibly authentic oldschool country as well as her very compelling, more recent Americana rock stuff.

Sat Feb 23 sprawling, bacchanalian, brilliantly pan-global twin harmonica-driven rockers Hazmat Modine play an early show, one set at Terra Blues, 7 PM. One of the best live bands on the planet.

Sun Feb 24 Catspaw play Otto’s, 8 PM. Their most recent show at Hank’s found them with a new bass player, revitalized, twangier and catchier than ever doing their mix of rockabilly, surf and janglerock.

Tues Feb 26 incisive, authentic, old-school blues guitarist/singer Johnny Allen plays Terra Blues. A great soloist – when he hits his volume pedal and starts to wail, look out – as well as a terrifically soulful vocalist.

Weds Feb 27, uncommonly melodic, song-oriented jazz quintet the Flail plays the Fat Cat, 75 Christopher St., 2 sets starting at 8:30 PM.

Fri Feb 29 the English Beat apparently has regrouped and plays Irving Plaza, time TBA, adv tix available and probably necessary. One of the best of the second-wave UK ska bands from the late 70s/early 80s, their songs are more rock-oriented and original than any of their colleagues. You’ll no doubt have to elbow your way through a bunch of aging fratboys for whom Mirror in the Bathroom was a delirious after-midnight dancefloor hit.

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January 14, 2008 Posted by | Live Events, Music, New York City, NYC Live Music Calendar | Leave a comment

Everybody in the Hood Is on the Juice!

Citing unidentified law enforcement personnel, the Albany Times Union reported yesterday that corporate black pop singer Mary J. Blige, hip-hop artists 50 Cent, Timbaland and Wyclef Jean, and comedian/actor Tyler Perry may have purchased steroids and/or human growth hormone. Paradoxically, law enforcement sources also stated that it does not appear that any of these performers have violated any law in connection with their alleged purchases.  Given what we know about steroid usage in major league baseball, the NFL and the NBA, we can extrapolate who else might be juicing,

Take L’il Kim, for example: she’s tiny. Less than five feet tall and topheavy, she could use a little something extra for those strenuous live shows she used to do before she went to jail. Foxy Brown, punching out that girl at the nail parlor? ‘Roid rage, plain as day. Naomi Campbell brutalizing one nanny after another? Gotta be the juice talking.

Bob Marley died of cancer, young. Very common in steroid abusers. And steroids are legal in Jamaica. Eazy-E? That wasn’t AIDS, that was his body breaking down from all the crap he was shooting up. Wilson Pickett and Nina Simone? Juicers often turn to drugs and alcohol. Ike Turner? As classic a juicer as there ever was.

And while we’re at it, what about Richard Wright? How did he get the energy to write Black Boy when he was sweating behind that dishwasher for 80 hours a week? He died young, too. Donald Goines? If you read between the lines, you’ll see that heroin is really just code for steroids. Zora Neale Hurston? She kept her looks for a real long time. They had HGH back during the Harlem Rennaissance too.

And in case you were wondering when we were going to get to all the white steroid abusers…well, white people don’t do steroids. Just ask Roger Clemens.

January 14, 2008 Posted by | Culture, Music, Rant | Leave a comment

The Top 20 New York Area Concerts of 2007

We’ve done the top 100 songs of 2007, and the top 20 albums of the year, and now it’s time for what we like best, the live stuff. Since any attempt to rank these shows by sheer exhilaration factor would an exercise in futility, they’re listed chronologically. If the show you saw, or the show you played isn’t here, that doesn’t mean it was bad, that just means that in all likelihood we didn’t see it. There are more live gigs in New York in one evening than we saw all year long, and we were trying hard to go out as much as possible and to see the most diverse range of stuff we could, for the benefit of all you readers. Also keep in mind that a pandora’s box of factors that have nothing to do with a band or artists’s performance come into play here, from the sound system to the general comfort level of the venue to how well a club treats the musicians onstage. As with our other year-end lists, take this with a grain of salt: consider it a sounding of sorts, a general indication of what was happening last year in one small demimonde.

Mary Lee’s Corvette at Rodeo Bar, 1/17/07
Two sets of old rarities and current classics from the greatest rock singer of our generation, and a scorching four-guitar edition of her band.

The Avengers at Bowery Ballrooom, 2/3/07
Classic punk done by the most crucial half of the original band (frontwoman Penelope Houston and guitarist Greg Ingraham), less of a nostalgia show than a clinic in good fun.

Justin Bischof at the organ at St. Thomas Church, 3/11/07
The scheduled organist cancelled at the last minute, so the former St. Thomas assistant organist did improvisations, including a symphony that he made up on the spot. Nothing short of phenomenal.

Big Lazy at Luna, 5/20/07
The cd release show for their latest album Postcards from X saw the band thrashing through the instrumentals on their most diverse album to date with predictably fiery, macabre results.

Melomane at Hank’s, 6/7/07
The art-rock band at their majestic, epic best, sounding crystal-clear through the excellent PA at this Brooklyn country music bar

LJ Murphy at the Knitting Factory, 6/12/07
The rock world’s reigning lyrical genius played a typically passionate, fiery show backed by a great Rickenbacker guitarist and rhythm section.

System Noise at Broadway and West 3rd St., 6/21/07
The high point of the first-ever Make Music New York citywide outdoor music festival – that we were able to see before the rain started – was these scorching female-fronted art/noise/punk rockers.

The Mingus Big Band and Orchestra at Damrosch Park, 8/26/07
The grand finale of the year’s Lincoln Center Out of Doors festival was the single best show we saw all year, no contest. A dark, stormy, virtuosic and breathtaking performance by a crowd of great players who realize that Mingus might be the greatest American composer ever.

Amanda Thorpe, Randi Russo and Ninth House at Hank’s, 8/26/07
The haunting Britfolk chanteuse followed by the equally haunting, chromatically inclined indie rock siren, and then the Nashville gothic rockers who at that point had just discovered improvisation, and were having a great time with it.

Chicha Libre at Barbes, 9/29/07
A wild, danceable, completely psychedelic performance of brilliant obscurities from the Peruvian Amazon circa 1972, as well as some originals that sounded completely authentic

Moisturizer at Black Betty, 10/10/07
Two sweaty, bacchanalian sets by the funnest instrumental band on the planet.

Mark Steiner at Otto’s, 10/16/07
He may have played his one New York show of the entire year with a pickup band, but the chemistry of the group was adrenalizingly contagious to the point where the club’s dodgy sound became a moot point.

Golem and Rasputina at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on Halloween
Deliriously danceable, oldtime orthodox Jewish dance music followed by a riveting show by the ever-darker, apocalyptically-minded chamber-rock trio.

Dina Dean at Rockwood Music Hall, 11/8/07
She’s always been an A-list tunesmith, but having a band behind her to passionately deliver her beautifully soulful songs is one of the best developments we’ve seen lately.

The Greenwich Village Orchestra Plays Rimsky-Korsakov, Bruch, Lam and Richard Strauss at Washington Irving HS Auditorium, 11/18/07
A sweeping, majestic, virtuosic show by a world-class orchestra bringing out all the earthy danceability of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Easter Overture, the longing and anguish of Bruch’s Kol Nidre, and the fascinating timbres of a world premiere by Angel Lam. And then they pulled out all the stops for Strauss’ Death and Transfiguration. And made it indelibly their own.

Paula Carino, Tom Warnick & World’s Fair and Erica Smith & the 99 Cent Dreams at the Parkside, 11/28/07
The brilliantly lyrical-minded, very funny Carino, the even funnier and inspiring Warnick and the ever-more-captivating, jazz-minded Smith played what was probably the best triple bill anywhere in New York last year.

The Inbreeds at Banjo Jim’s, 12/9/07
In a hilarious, somewhat stagy show that really ought to be brought to Broadway, the world’s funniest country parody band made fun of every conceivable style of country music.

John Scott Plays The Birth of Our Lord by Messiaen at St. Thomas Church, 12/20/07
Attuned to every emotion in this complex, absolutely haunting suite, Scott brought each and every one of them to life with verve and passion.

James Apollo at Banjo Jim’s, 12/20/07
The southwestern gothic songwriter impressed with a dusty, hypnotic set of one good song after another, not a single clunker. That doesn’t happen often.

Rachelle Garniez at Joe’s Pub, 12/22/07
The cd release for her new one, Melusine Years was a dark, terse yet devastatingly funny and entertaining affair. Just like the album

January 14, 2008 Posted by | classical music, concert, jazz, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, rock music, world music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment